Monday, January 31, 2011

The Scent of a Woman (1992)*

Boarding-school student Sean Astin† has to show blind Al Pacino around the city. Al Pacino says, "Hoo-ah!" a lot and drives a car even though he's blind. Later there's a court case, or maybe Sean Astin has been brought before the honor committee, and Al Pacino gives a show-stopping speech and says, "Hoo-ah!" Presumably the two main characters don't get along at first, and by the end they're fast friends.

Oh, right, the dancing—with Beautiful McWho's-That-Actress. Hoo-ah!

* This movie, it turns out, is called Scent of a Woman. No The. Just Scent.
† No.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Mouse That Roared (1959)

A small country, maybe populated entirely by Peter Sellers, decides to invade the United States and—because their tiny Peter Sellers army arrives during an air-raid drill—the invasion succeeds. Then there's a car chase on a country road. (During the air-raid drill, teenagers might be dancing to rock'n'roll music.) This movie is satirical somehow, as are all films in which Peter Sellers plays multiple roles. Here's another movie I can't see being much longer than 20 minutes.

Ooh, Jean Seberg!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

A little alien who can be a huge bad-ass like the iron giant comes to Hawaii, pursued by bounty hunters like Critters. Actually, this movie is basically just The Iron Giant meets Critters...meets E.T. There is probably a single mom in it, and I think I remember that when the little alien got all bad-ass, it was actually pretty bad-ass. Maybe sometimes he has more arms?

More than a little Fizzgiggy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Critters 2 (1988)

A drunk in an Easter Bunny costume takes a leak and a critter jumps in the fly. One of the bounty hunters dies; another (maybe the same one) takes the form of a Playboy centerfold and walks around topless—with a huge staple in her belly, what? Later, a bunch of critters ball up into one big critter and roll around. [NOTE: This movie had a phone number you could call before it came out and listen to scenes from it. Did I call this number? Yes, I did.]

I remembered it vertical and lower down, but, yep, staple.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We're No Angels (1989)

Sean Penn and somebody else are escaped convicts who have to pretend to be monks or priests or something. Things go bad, and I think somebody gets shot at a parade where people are pinning cash to Jesus or something. I had seen the old Humphrey Bogart movie when this one came out, and I remember being distressed by how different this one was.

"Sean Penn and somebody else." Yeesh.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Arnold is a cop who has gone undercover because some kid's stepdad is in the mob. (Either that or the kid's real dad is a witness on the run from the mob.) Implausibly, Arnold poses as a kindergarten teacher—and hard though he may be on the beat, he just is not cut out for dealing with adorable children! (Then he is.) I believe he gets shot in a shower but is OK.*

Why do people say Schwarzenegger can't act?

* Oh, and of course, "It's not a tumor!" But that was in the trailer and therefore doesn't count.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Turner & Hooch (1989)

Police officer Tom Hanks gets teamed up with a drooling bulldog! At first he doesn't care for having to work with an animal, but then they grow to love each other! Eventually the dog gets killed and everyone in the audience cries! (To be honest, I'm not sure how much of this is coming from my memory and how much of it is just educated guesswork.)

Not to be confused with K-9 (or Cujo).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jackie Brown (1997)

Jackie Brown the character? Don't remember a single thing she does. Oh, I think she has some passionate but stalled thing going on with Harvey Keitel, who's a bail bondsman or something. Some people rob like a Wal-Mart: I'm picturing some drama or action in the parking lot. Mainly what I remember about this movie is the font used for the title.

Actually not quite the way I remember it.
[NOTE: Google has reminded me about the De Niro–Fonda sex scene.
Almost used that here, but we gotta keep it safe for work, AM I RIGHT?]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wonder Boys (2000)

Michael Douglas has a 7,000 page novel and smokes pot. Tobey Maguire is his student, or is guiding him around like in The Scent of a Woman. The car gets stolen or impounded and destroyed, somebody drops the novel down the stairs, and generally I think things sort of get a little heavy. I remember expecting to like this movie more than I did.

Robert Downey Jr. was in this? Do I have to watch it again, now?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Three Days of the Condor (1975)

Robert Redford is like maybe a non-spy CIA guy who, beginning with a phone call, winds up on the run, possibly framed for the murder of everyone in his CIA office, probably involving microfiche, and definitely ending with—no, actually, I have no idea how it wraps up. Mainly I just remember its being suspenseful and (I think) pretty entertaining?

This movie looks awesome! Very computery. Nice, 1970s.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Gods Must Be Crazy! (1980*)

Somebody drops a Coke bottle out of the window of a plane, and a man from the middle of the desert who is unaware of modern civilization thinks it's a holy relic and tries to take it to the end of the earth. There's a conceited jerk and a guy who says, "Ai yai yai," which I don't know how to spell, and maybe a scene with bumbling bazooka-shooting guerillas. Is this whole movie sort of an ad for Coke the way Cast Away is sort of an ad for Fed Ex?

There was a time in my life—very early on—when I had The Gods Must Be Crazy! filed away in the general category of "funniest movies ever," but I think I was wrong.

"There, there." –Spies Like Us (which I remember pretty well)

* U.S. release: 1984.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

F/X (1986)

The Conversation, but with special-effects technology instead of microphones. I believe a van is somehow important, although that may be F/X 2.

This movie maybe secretly wanted to teach us about the business.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Munchies (1987)

Two teenagers have sex, and monsters kill someone by turning the volume up too high on a stereo. If you cut them in half they multiply. The teenagers have sex.

It's not a Gremlins rip-off if it's better than Gremlins!*

*It isn't.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Short Circuit 2 (1988)

Number Five, now named "Johnny Five" (which is what happens when you let a robot name itself in the '80s), gets shipped by Steve Guttenberg to fake-Indian Fisher Stevens in a box, at which point he joins the Hispanic street gang Los Locos (who will kick your ass, face, and balls into outer space), changes their ways (no more kick-launching), gets the robo-shit kicked out of him while doing something heroic, and returns in an unpleasant shade of gold.

Oh, right, he doesn't have his laser gun anymore.
Way to strip the movie of all traces of awesomeness, guys.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Annie (1982)

Annie is a singing orphan who is adopted by bald Daddy Warbucks, who takes her to sing to President Roosevelt. Mean Mrs. Hannigan tries to get Annie back for no reason I can begin to imagine, and this results in Annie's hanging off a bridge and being rescued by Daddy Warbucks's weird mute bodyguard, who may actually save her with his turban? Annie has a dog. Mrs. Hannigan may have a drinking problem.

Oh, you scamp!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Conversation (1974)

Gene Hackman's a surveillance guy and he listens in on what's going on in a park. Then he gets tangled up in some bad-news conspiracy and has to run around and hide. Ultimately something happens in an empty office. I think a beautiful woman is imperiled, maybe even in a particularly perilous way, but Gene Hackman's plan ends up working out perfectly. Mainly I picture our hero at a window with a microphone gun, but I think that's just because that was the DVD cover art.

Seriously? This I don't remember at all.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Money Pit (1986)

I'm confident that this is not the same movie as The 'Burbs and Mr. Mom, but how, I couldn't tell you. Mainly I think I remember the poster. It might be sunny in the beginning, though, and Tom Hanks may be smiling. Or, wait, is Chevy Chase in this one? I'm pretty sure at some point somebody falls through a floor. And boy, do our protagonists get increasingly upset! Is their peace of mind ever rattled!

"Homeowners' farce" is the highest form of comedy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mr. Mom (1983)

For some reason, Michael Keaton has to deal with raising the kids and the household chores (can you imagine??), and at one point he is comically menaced, possibly to the tune of John Williams's Jaws theme, by either a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine, maybe both. I seem to remember his bringing a baby to a business meeting. This might be a comedy about divorce.

OK, Mr. Mom. OK.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

I'm sure I've seen this at least twice, but it DOES NOT STICK. Ben Gazzara has to kill someone (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess, "a Chinese bookie"), which I think involves sneaking into a house and also maybe being in a phone booth.* It's got to be because of gambling debts—a kind of preemptive self-defense, maybe?—and I think I remember that he just basically kills the guy with way less dramatic complication than seems possible: this is another one of those movies that, in my memory, is about 12 minutes long.

Yes! Phone booth!

* In this way, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is indistinguishable from Singles.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Singles (1992)

Matt Dillon has long hair and is a musician, and I think he's dating Bridget Fonda and tells her to get a boob job, but she doesn't. People break up and get together and play grunge music. I'm struggling to remember more. Maybe some kind of farcical mishap involving a phone booth?

I miss Bridget Fonda. Apparently she married Danny Elfman?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

SpaceCamp (1986)

A kid with a robot, Elizabeth Shue, and (I'm picturing) the gang from Adventures in Babysitting accidentally blast off into outer space (although how that happens is beyond me—probably something to do with the kid and his robot?), and they manage to get back before running out of oxygen. The return involves a "window" of some kind, and I remember not understanding what or why this was.

Elizabeth Shue is not in this movie, but Leaf Phoenix is.

Monday, January 10, 2011

That movie with the time-traveling aircraft carrier (1970-something?)*

Army guys on an aircraft carrier go through a portal in the ocean and wind up in World War II, where they shoot down a Japanese plane (wuh-oh!) and then have to decide whether to win the war for America and probably destroy the universe because of space–time problems or just hang out and then go back to the future. They choose the second path (obviously), but maybe this one guy stays behind and then ends up pretty old.

You built a time machine...out of an aircraft carrier?

* This movie is called The Final Countdown and is from 1980, and as far as I can tell, my summary of it is pretty complete and accurate. What is this movie, 20 minutes long?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Without a Clue (1988)

Sherlock Holmes (Michael Caine) and Watson (Bob Hoskins, maybe?) go up against a 19th-century Timothy Leary who is making people hallucinate and jump out windows. Actually I'm pretty sure that's the other Sherlock Holmes movie, Young Sherlock Holmes, starring Yahoo Serious. In this one, somebody gets his throat cut and it makes a terrifying noise. Also, lotsa laffs.

Who is that? Kingsley?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Network (1976)

A network anchor is maybe about to get fired and yells ("I'm mad as hell" etc.), and then everyone starts yelling out of windows—so they kill him. Is that about right?

NO! We ain't gonna take it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Braveheart (1995)

Braveheart's wife gets killed so he organizes all the Scotsmen to fight the British. The British can take away the Scotsmen's lives but not their freedom! The Scotsmen lift up hidden spears and fuck up the British horses. In the end Braveheart gets vivisected but keeps yelling "FREEDOM!" and we can assume that something is accomplished by this. I remember that something about the way the story was told or unfolded made the movie feel to me like a 3½-hour trailer. A masterpiece, though, I'm given to understand.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Presumed Innocent (1990)

Did Harrison Ford kill his girlfriend? It looks like maybe he did! No, wait—he didn't. OR DID HE? No, he didn't. And, phew, he was found not guilty. But...epilogue: hold the phone, HE DID! He did kill his—whoops, false alarm, his wife did it.

P.S. There's hair on a hammer or something. And was some kid's head in a vice, or was that another movie? It might actually be the case that Harrison Ford flashes his charming grin exactly never in Presumed Innocent. Gross: this movie is gross.

Well, this part looks pretty good! Except: murder. Blecch.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mystic River (2003)

Tim Robbins is mentally handicapped and may have killed somebody's kid. Sean Penn yells a lot in the street. Eventually Tim Robbins probably has to be put down, like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. Lots of intense feeling, lots of yelling—and I think there might be some kind of code being observed, like a code of the streets, or some kind of gang's code, or a code of brothers. Everyone is very unhappy. The kid who got killed might have been a sweet teenaged girl. The whole damned thing is a goddamned shame.

Aaaaarrrrrrrghhh, yelling!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Boys from Brazil (1978)

A Nazi hunter comes out of retirement and finds out that somebody's cloning Hitler. The Nazi hunter and the main Nazi (Laurence Olivier?) fight and basically kill each other, at which point little-boy Hitler shows his true Hitler colors and is creepy and sadistic. It's very possible that this movie ends with the Hitler clones healthy and free. Something happens with a dog—maybe a Hitler dog, like the Hulk dogs in Ang Lee's Hulk? I kid.

See what they did there with the mirrors? Cloning humor.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nashville (1975)

Some mysterious man is in town—very possibly Harrison Ford in a hat, although I might just be remembering American Graffiti. Somebody's staying in a motel and I think there's car racing. I was about to say Cybill Shepherd takes her top off, but that's The Last Picture Show. Is there a used-car salesman? Are there fireworks? I'm pretty sure someone tries to assassinate a senator. The part I'm most confident about is the motel and (for some reason) that the movie came out in '77.*

Looks like it was Jeff Goldbum, not Harrison Ford.
(His character's name is Tricycle Man?)

* No.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hideaway (1995)

Jeff Goldblum dies and is revived at the same time that a death-metal-listening kid with cool sunglasses also dies and is revived, except that the death-metal-listening kid was conducting some satanic ritual and is sent back by Satan, and the result of this is that Jeff Goldblum starts seeing murders that the kid commits and of course ends up having to try to stop them. I think Goldblum might keep finding knives in his hand. Did I mention the sunglasses? I think I thought that kid's sunglasses were cool. I really hope that if I find a picture of those sunglasses, I'm not too embarrassed by them now.

What I thought was cool 15 years ago. At least it's Billy Chenowith.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Porky's (1982)

Some teenagers or college students find out about an awesome strip club, or possibly just a truck stop, in Bon Temps, Louisiana, but they get kicked out, possibly even beaten up, and humiliated. They take their revenge by looking at naked women and probably pushing somebody off a pier. Someone (maybe the same person) is eaten by a crocodile. That last part might also be from Romancing the Stone.

Whoa! Sorry, Uncle Buck—you just got bumped from the top of my Netflix queue.